So far, I have barely begun to explore this city which had so enamored me on my first brief encounter with it. Now on reflection, it seems that the love was spurred partly by the gray coldness of the weather, and partly by the wild people I had met here and spent my time with.
Today, egged on by Eddie Vedder, I have been feeling a pinch of wanderlust. I slept listening to Long Nights, and dreamed of sleeping in a jungle camp amidst queer silences. (Perhaps it was a modified memory from last week’s camping). So here I am, walking through this city.
I have already walked these roads a few times now, but somehow unconscious and unaware. For instance, I had not noticed the Simond’s Hall so far, which, amidst smaller residential buildings suddenly opens up in a wide entrance and has a sizeable barren parking lot. I had never seen its quietly imposing demeanor, which is hyphenated by its Victorian style galleries.
Even though the charmingly Victorian designs of most buildings here had not completely skipped my eyes, while walking on the Park Street I noticed for the first time how beautiful and picturesque most of these houses were individually. However, their individual beauty is lost in the collage they make together, which is not beautiful or impressive. It is perhaps that everyone wanted to be different, but essentially since they were working on the same basic idea, they ended up in a jumble of mismatched similarities. They have neither the charm of asymmetry, nor the harmony of uniformity.
Outside some houses, white wrought iron chairs were perfectly placed against white wooden windows. To complete the picture (remember the photographs of French houses?), a mud-pot was placed on the window sil – the stemming red and shooting greens of its blooms lending color to the scene. I mentally made a note to click a picture of the window next time I walked past with a camera. Though today, I am sort of happy to not have that camera, because it often ruins the sense of peace. (And today is a peaceful day). I keep trying to capture the image exactly as I see through my eyes, but the camera doesn’t always co-operate – eventually the repeated efforts frustrate me and the moment is ruined.
I am writing all this, lying down on the very green grass of the Royal Botanical gardens on a few sheets of borrowed paper – and I feel very happy and content in the moment. I have come to like spending Sundays here, mostly reading.